Common Tread

Could better boots have saved the rider in this video?

May 04, 2017

I first saw this video when it surfaced on the internet a few days ago on Official Motocross’ Instagram page. While it has since been pulled down from their page there are plenty of people on the ol' 'Gram who have already shared it.

Take a few seconds and watch the video before considering the two questions posed in the caption.

“Could better riding boots have prevented this?”

“Was pulling it out the right thing to do?”

While I am sure I could field the latter question if the context were different, I think in this instance it’s better left for our resident specialist, Dr. Lewis Kaplan. It’s the initial question I’d like to focus on.

Alpinestars Tech 8 RS Boots

Take a close look at the boots the rider is wearing in the video. I’m almost positive those are Alpinestars Tech 8 RS boots. At nearly $500 per pair, the only thing above them in Alpinestars' line of dirt boots are their more motocross-oriented Tech 10 boots. The Tech 8s share almost all the same bracing, leather, microfiber, and TPU at play in the pricier Tech 10s working to keep the rider safe.

The spike happened to hit right the rider's boot just below the upper shin plate at such an angle that it penetrated the rider's leg instead of deflecting off. It still had to penetrate multiple layers of leather and microfiber before even touching skin.

TCX X-Helium Boots

Could better riding boots have prevented this injury? I doubt it. To compare, I pulled up a picture the TCX X-Helium boots I currently wear for off-road riding. The shin plate stops at almost the exact same spot as on the Alpinestars boots. So why not run the TPU plate further down the shin?

Too much TPU and the boot becomes too rigid, thus rendering it nearly impossible to move your foot for shifting and braking. As it stands now, the number-one complaint I hear from new-to-dirt riders at off-road events is that they can't wear dirt boots because they're too rigid and uncomfortable. So they set off to tackle the trail on street-oriented footwear.

As this video shows, unexpected things can happen. A little discomfort is a small price to pay to maximize your level of protection on the trail. Considering this rider was already wearing top-notch dirt protection on his feet, I think a better question would have been, what would have happened had he been wearing street riding shoes?